The War on Drugs in Bizarro World, a.k.a. Santa Cruz

Last week a 19-year-old called the Santa Cruz police to report a robbery: He had been sitting in his car when he was approached by two men who took his property at gunpoint. Oddly, he was not deterred from contacting the authorities by the fact that the property in question was four ounces of pot he had planned to sell to the men who robbed him. Even more surprisingly, the police did not charge him with drug dealing, correctly viewing his as a victim rather than a criminal. "From our standpoint," a police spokesman told the Santa Cruz Sentinel, "it's more important to address the fact there are individuals out there who are willing to use a weapon to commit robberies."

[Thanks to jimmydageek for the tip.]

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  • ||

    HOORAY! Go Santa Cruz respectin' property rights right and left!

  • ||

    Just when you get yourself convinced that all cops are fucked up, they go and do something like this! Damn them! ;-)

  • The Artist Formerly Know as Tr||

    WTF?

  • ||

    Hmmm! Santa Cruz, eh? Foreign name that, isn't it? Where is this Santa Cruz of which you speak?

    Sure wish there were places like that in America.

  • ||

    Hooray for socialism!

  • ||

    apparently libertarians celebrate april fools' day on september 11'th

    classless, jacob. classless

  • ||

    I wouldn't get too excited about the protection of property rights just yet, Randolph. It may just be that they want an armed bandit off of the streets. We can celebrate the protection of property rights when the cops return whatever weed they recover to the dealer. My guess is it gets confiscated as evidence. But if it gets returned to the hapless 19-year-old, there is definitely cause to celebrate.

    To me, it's enough of a small victory that they didn't treat the victim like a criminal just because Mary-joowanna was involved. But I'll keep my fingers crossed for property rights.

  • ||

    Makes me wonder - could the police arrest somebody without drugs on him simply because he said that he once had drugs on him and intended to sell them?

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    If the cops continue to be this cool and return the stolen cannabis to the robbery victim, he should invite them to his house to celebrate.

  • Russ 2000||

    could the police arrest somebody without drugs on him simply because he said that he once had drugs on him and intended to sell them?

    Doubt it. But if they recover the property and return it to him, THEN they can arrest him.

  • ||

    "That's not mine. Mine was much better. They must have robbed someone else, too."

  • ||

    Maybe this kid is where they usually get their personal supplies.

  • ||

    Maybe this kid is where they usually get their personal supplies.

    Nah, cops confiscate their personal supply.

  • ||

    """Makes me wonder - could the police arrest somebody without drugs on him simply because he said that he once had drugs on him and intended to sell them?"""

    On a similar note, I know someone who was arrested for underage possession of alcohol because he was drunk. He had no alcohol on him at the time of arrest, due to drinking it all prior.

  • ||

    I also remember an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that said you can't arrest someone for possession of a subtance if a container was empty but had some residue. But I think the state congress fix it so you could.

  • ||

    In our own, "normal", universe, the version of this where the cops arrest the guy reporting the stolen drugs is apparently so common that I think News of the Weird has it on its "officially no longer weird" list. I'm not sure whether they wait until the drugs are returned to charge the victim with Possession, or whether they just slap him with a good old all-purpose "conspiracy" charge right off the bat.

  • ||

    TrickyVic,
    Yes, in a lot of states you can be charged with possession for being drunk. The charge is called "possession by intoxication." Want to hear something even crazier?

    After our rugby formal, the bus taking us back to campus (this was in VT) was pulled over. The cop came in to the bus and started carding people, and saw my friend Darryl, who was pretty drunk (almost blackout drunk) and grabbed him and put him in the squad car.
    Darryl was charged with possession by intoxication, put against his will in a hospital, and hooked up to a saline IV. When he woke up, he realized they had attached a catheter as well. He was billed over 3000 dollars for the night at the hospital, and had to take alcohol education classes at his expense, another 1000 dollars. The kicker? He was 20 years and 10 months old at the time!

  • ||

    Hooray for reason!

  • ||

    Ouch.

  • ||

    He was 20 years and 10 months old at the time!

    If your old enough for selective service you should be old enough to get a beer, for chrissake. I'll never, NEVER, understand why someone can disagree with that.

  • Episiarch||

    On a similar note, I know someone who was arrested for underage possession of alcohol because he was drunk.

    I was arrested (CT) for procurement of alcohol by a minor. Meaning I went into a store, was not carded (I did not have a fake ID), purchased some alcohol, and got pinched outside (not my fault, one of the guys I was with was a fucking moron and caught a cop's eye). I was 20.

    Multiple cops at the station house asked the cop who arrested me "why the hell did you arrest this guy?" He did it to compel me to testify against the liquor store owner who was under investigation for--guess--selling to minors. I never ended up testifying, yet had to be at the liquor board hearing in Hartford.

    Douchebags all around.

  • Nick||

    Had the gunmen instead stollen his Big Mac and large fries however, the victim more than likely would have been sentenced by a judge to see a nution counceler to help cure his addiction to fatty foods.

    Such are the ways of the Golden State.

  • ||

    It may just be that they want an armed bandit off of the streets.

    Actually, in quote from the police, that's exactly what they said their thought process was.

  • ||

    I am very skeptical. I've never heard of a police department that cared more about armed robbery than the WOD. Not in this country.

  • ||

    Such are the ways of the Golden State.



    Yup, you hit that nail squarely on the head! The very same people here who fought and fought to making smoking tobacco illegal in private bars are the same one arguing for marijuana legalization. There's not one drop of libertarianism in them, it's purely socialist. Tobacco is seen as corporate and is thus evil, marijuana as being produced by poor minority people and is thus sacred.

    I'm anticipating the story where someone is arrested for lighting up in a Berkeley bar, only to be released is embarassing apologies because it was cannabis and not tobacco which was inhaled.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    After our rugby formal, the bus taking us back to campus (this was in VT) was pulled over.

    Well, meow, this is your own fault. As everyone should know by meow, we Vermonters do not want this kind of meow-ral debauchery going on in our state. You wouldn't see any of our children getting drunk at rugby games or UVM or homes and definitely not in any fields. No sir, we're too busy fucking our economy to drink beer. Meow, I want you to remember to respect Vermont's upstanding moral character the next time you come, ok?

    PS: My roommate is on probation (by the school, not the cops) because he had 4 empty beer cans on his desk. This is despite the fact that his BAC was zero and there was no alcohol to be found. The school said the charge was having "alcohol paraphernalia". I wonder if you can get charged for buying one of the shot glasses the school bookstore sells?

    PPS: Meow!

  • ||

    This kid is a moron, plain and simple. No dope dealer with an ounce of self respect calls the cops. He should have either delt with the situation himself or taken it on the chin as a lesson well learned in how not to do business. Now he's just a two bit weed dealer and a snitch. I'm guessing that his connections dry up real fast after this.

  • ||

    Dugg!

    The cops are actually investigating real crimes here.

  • ||

    "What kind of hippie are you, anyway?"
    "I'm a business hippie."

    Can someone clarify a point of law here? Is it theft to take something from someone who did not have the right to possess that thing?

    Call it the Traficant defense: it wasn't armed robbery, it was an attempted citizens' arrest!

    Or is it, as they say, if only cops have guns, only criminals will have guns.

  • ||

    On the other hand, the City Hall wouldn't put the American flag at half-mast today until citizens applied some pressure, including inviting the aforementioned Santa Cruz Sentinel to behold an impromptu protest in front of the building.

    Hey, you can hate the war, hate the President, be disgusted at the Congress, even believe that 9/11 was an inside job. But when you put the flag at half mast, you're saluting the people who died and the people who tried to help on that day. American to American. Plain and simple. What's wrong with that?

    That said, I think it was cool that my local cops chose to concentrate on real crime. That is indeed a step in the right direction.

  • ||

    I live in Santa Cruz. In November 2006, city voters overwhelmingly passed an ordinance to make "investigations, citations, arrests, property seizures, and prosecutions for adult marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority for the city of Santa Cruz" (text directly from ordinance). Perhaps the treatment of this young man is related to this ordinance.

    Anyway, good on the SCPD for conducting themselves as they did throughout this matter. That said, as James pointed out, don't mistake this for a sign of larger libertarian sentiment in Santa Cruz.

  • e||

    Here's mutt's "business hippie" reference; enjoy!

    Hippie Student: Bro? I'm not your bro, bro. ok, and that's 80 bucks. You don't feel like getting high tonight? If you don't feel like getting high, that's cool with me because there's lots of people around here. See this guy? Hey, what's up, George? I smoke buds with George all the time.

    Kumar: What kind of a hippie are you?

    Hippie Student: What kind of hippie am I? Man, I'm a business hippie, I understand the concept of supply and demand.

  • ||

    HOORAY! Go Santa Cruz respectin' property rights right and left!

    Hmmm, not so fast. I live in Santa Cruz, CA, or more accurately, the People's Republic of Santa Cruz. It is a haven for activists and anti-market wackos. Everybody's dream over there is for all people to drive around in bikes, buy organic food grown locally (and much more expensively) and basically drive business out.

  • e||

    Francisco, rather than whining on Reason about it, why not move to a more business-friendly town like Modesto, Fresno, or Hayward? Oh right, those places are hellish sprawls that no one wants to live in.

  • ||

    Damn, e, I don't think you have any clue what whining is.

    Incidentally, if no one wants to live in Modesto, Fresno or Hayward, why do people actually, live there? Are there barbed wire fences and security police with machine guns keeping them prisoner or something?

  • e||

    tarran, now i regret saying mean things about Modesto, et al. To not be so snarky about it, I am just saying if you don't like bicycles and expensive organic food, maybe you'd find Modesto more to your liking than Santa Cruz. On the other hand, if oil prices keep increasing, we might find that the price difference between conventional produce and locally grown food grown without petroleum-dependent pesticides and fertilizers becomes smaller. Also cities that planned ahead for making bicycling and walking a safe alternative to driving might find themselves somewhat at an advantage.

  • ||

    Francisco, rather than whining on Reason about it, why not move to a more business-friendly town like Modesto, Fresno, or Hayward? Oh right, those places are hellish sprawls that no one wants to live in.

    I would return to Houston (where I was living for a while), if the company I work for allowed me to. But they are my sponsors, so... it is either "wacky land" or return to Mexico...

  • e||

    Francisco, I feel for you! Keep your head up and endure as best you can the torture of bicycle lanes and organic vegetables. Houston awaits!

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